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Advertising division: IEK-11 - Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg for Renewable Energy
Reference number: 2021D-040

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Would you like to contribute to the energy transition in Germany through your work? Then the Helmholtz Institute Erlangen-Nürnberg (for Renewable Energy) (HI ERN) is the right place for you! The HI ERN forms the core of the close partnership between Forschungszentrum Jülich, Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin for Materials and Energy, and Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg at the Erlangen site. The collaboration relates to the areas of innovative materials and processes for photovoltaic energy systems and hydrogen as a storage and carrier medium for CO2-neutral energy. Support us researching and developing solutions for the climate-neutral, sustainable, and cost-effective utilization of renewable energies.

The successful candidate will be part of the research department “Dynamics of Complex Fluids and Interfaces”, headed by Prof. Dr. Jens Harting. The research focus of this HI ERN department is to contribute to the fundamental understanding of the physics underlying the formation of thin films and the development of simulation and modeling techniques for printing and coating processes.

We are looking to recruit a

PhD student - Simulation of the photoactive layer formation during drying of solution-processed organic solar cells

Your Job:

Organic solar cells belong to the emerging photovoltaic technologies that can contribute to the energy transition in the near future. They have been greatly improved in the past few years, reaching outstanding 18% conversion efficiency. Compared to silicon devices, these solution-processed solar cells are low cost and eco-friendly, and allow new kind of application thanks to their flexibility and partial transparency. Nevertheless, the efficiency and life time of these solar cells have still to be improved. Aside from material development, the fabrication process is known to play a crucial role in their performance: during drying of the light-absorbing layer, a complex nanostructure forms that determines the layer properties. However, the understanding of the process-structure relationship has to be improved.
A recently developed simulation framework enables the investigation of the film structuration during the fabrication process. The focus of the doctorate study is to gain physical insight into the formation of solution-processed bulk-heterojunction photoactive layers with the help of high-performance phase-field simulations, so as to gain control on the final film nanostructure. Your tasks include:

  • To validate this simulation tool by performing simulations on real systems. The input parameters will be identified and the simulation results compared with experimental characterization of the film morphology in close collaboration with experimental groups,
  • To elucidate physics-based design rules for ink formulation and process parameters to be used for the solution-based processing of large-area bulk-heterojunction solar cells,
  • To contribute to the code development and improvement
  • Participation in project meetings
  • Coordination with internal and external partners
  • Publication and presentation of research results in relevant journals or at international conferences

Your Profile:

  • Successfully completed scientific master`s degree in physics or materials science with excellent grades, preferably with a specialization on theory and simulation
  • Knowledge of at least one programming language
  • Experience with using Unix/Linux operating systems
  • Skills in simulation and/or modelling
  • Motivation to tackle interdisciplinary problems and to collaborate with experimental groups
  • High motivation for pursuing a PhD within 3 years
  • Excellent organizational skills
  • Ability to show initiative and work independently
  • Excellent cooperation and communication skills and ability to work as part of a team
  • Excellent skills in spoken and written English

Our Offer:

We work on the very latest issues that impact our society and are offering you the chance to actively help in shaping the change! We offer ideal conditions for you to complete your doctoral degree:

  • International, interdisciplinary working environment in Erlangen and Nürnberg including many opportunities for cooperation with partners from the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, the Forschungszentrum Jülich, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin as well as with other national and international partners
  • Excellent scientific and technical infrastructure for carrying out high-quality research
  • Comprehensive training courses and individual opportunities for personal and professional further development
  • 30 days of annual leave
  • A structured doctoral degree programme for you and your supervisors with a comprehensive further training and networking package on our doctoral researchers’ platform JuDocs https://www.fz-juelich.de/judocs


The position is initially for a fixed term of 3 years, with possible long-term prospects. Pay in line with 75% of pay group 13 of the Collective Agreement for the Public Service (TVöD-Bund) and additionally 60 % of a monthly salary as special payment („Christmas bonus“). Pay higher than the basic pay may be possible.

Place of employment: Erlangen

Forschungszentrum Jülich promotes equal opportunities and diversity in its employment relations.
We also welcome applications from disabled persons.

Additional Information

We look forward to receiving your application until 12.05.2021 via our
Online-Recruitment-System!

Questions about the vacancy?
Get in touch with us by using our contact form.
Please note that for technical reasons we cannot accept applications via email.